Review of: Alex Gibney's Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream Alex Gibney's Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream, is a documentary that compares the Park Avenue in Manhattan, NY to the Park Avenue of the South Bronx, NY. Gibney starts out by showing the audience the residential building 740 Park Avenue. Here, is the home of the most billionaires living on one block (and building), in all of the United States. The Film focuses on Economic Development and Inequality by using the comparison of the Park Avenue billionaires to the Park Avenue residents of the South Bronx.
Eventually the director focuses his attention to these billionaires and the United States government. He brings up points that tie the interests of these billionaires to the way in which the government is currently corruptly run. He uses the classic "School House Rock" cartoon "I'm Just a Bill" to show that maybe in 1975 (when the cartoon came out) the S.H.R. interpretation may had been factual and educational in teaching kids how the system works. Today however, the reality up on Capitol Hill bares no resemblance to the cartoon. Today, bills rarely make it to the house to be voted on.
Gibney goes on to make strong ties between Ann Rand's ideologies of capitalism in her book Atlas Shrugged with the underlying beliefs of certain CEO billionaires like the Koch brothers and Republican Senator Paul Ryan. Gibney is here stating that the Republican Party and the Democratic Party members have all been bought. They no longer have the interests of the voters, but they have the interests of the lobbyists who give them money for their campaigns.
Gibney goes on and on giving examples of how corrupt the government system is today, and says that billionaires including the ones who live in 740 Park Avenue are constantly playing the game of capitalism. They know that in order for them to become richer, others have to become poorer. This is why they want to have close ties in Washington in order to get the bills they want passed.
Although the film succeeds in lifting any veil that was hiding the ugly truths about our government system, it does not offer any solutions. Sure it gives us statistics and pie charts letting us know just how poor the majority of American citizens have become, while the 1% has only gotten richer. It ties this subject back into the beginning of the film where at one end of Park Avenue lives people in the 1%, while at the other side of Park Avenue in the South Bronx lives people in poverty struggling to give their kids shelter and an education.
At some point in the film I was waiting for some logical solution scenarios to pop up. Gibney does a great job at making me shocked and angry at how the country's government no longer has the interests of the majority of its citizens in mind, but that is all I felt after it was over, angry. I felt angry and helpless. Maybe this film was produced by the 1% to scare us and put us down. Gibney really missed the marked on the ending of this film. It was surprising to see how stingy billionaires in 740 Park Avenue to their doormen, as one who was interviewed in the film said for Christmas he only received a $50 check from David Koch.
What about the Park Avenue residents in the South Bronx? Their identities weren't given to us like the billionaires at 740 Park. They were mentioned very briefly and then forgotten until the last few minutes of the film. Gibney should have and could have interviewed a sociologist, professor of economics or urban planner in order to get their thoughts on how to improve the inequality of the blighted areas like the South Bronx. There is no need to only give the audience the disastrous details of America's economy without also mentioning the theories and plans being devised in order to rebuild and fix the enormous inequality gap.
It makes me wonder if Gibney really believes in change for the better, or if his priority all along was just to scare his audience into a nihilist persona. If I had to rate this film on a scale of 1 to 5, I would give it a 2.5. It is not boring, and it will keep you watching, but it will leave you sorely disappointed.
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